The Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development is situated in the Division One: Humanities and Social Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences. It was established in 1971. It differs from other institutes as it adopts an inter-disciplinary approach to its studies, i.e. the rural areas of the country. From the very beginning, agriculture constituted only a part of the much wider range of problems studied at the Institute embracing socio-economic development of rural areas. For this reason, the Institute has gathered together specialists representing many different disciplines: economics, sociology, demography, ethnology, education, spatial geography, etc., all of whom share an interest in rural and agricultural issues.
For many years the Institute has been monitoring ongoing processes in rural areas from economic and social perspective and has tried to define premises for long-term development strategies of rural areas and of transformation agriculture must undergo in the process of integration with the European Union.
The scientific community affiliated with the Institute is convinced that the rural milieu and agricultural should be seen as an environment in which a considerable part of the Polish society lives and works must be economically diversified and must be equipped with economic, institutional and other structures enabling inhabitants to satisfy their diverse aspirations at a level similar to that available in urban settings.
The Institute has made an undeniable contribution to the development of the framework for rural policy which one of, the components is agricultural policy. The Institute is also an unchallenged precursor of the theoretical studies on the multi-functional development of rural areas.
The Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development has conducted its interdisciplinary research of rural areas for over 40 years. During this period, it has consolidated as an institution and as a scientific community capable of producing studies and reports essential for programming agricultural and rural policy. The Institute gained the highest category in the ranking of scientific institutions run by the National Scientific Research Committee.
Some 60% of the Institute 's operating costs is covered from the national budget. The remaining sources of funding are grants from the European Union, international organisations, and governmental and non-governmental institutions (ministries, agencies, foundations).